Ralph Anspach

Ralph Anspach

Ralph Anspach (born 1926) is a retired American economics professor from San Francisco State University. He is a graduate of the University of Chicago, and fought with the Machal in 1948 in support of the independence of Israel. He is best known, though, for creating the game "Anti-Monopoly" in response to the board game "Monopoly".

While preparing his defense in the copyright and trademark infringement lawsuit brought against him by Parker Brothers for his development and marketing of "Anti-Monopoly", Anspach uncovered evidence that Parker Brothers had pirated "Monopoly" from its original inventors, patented an "open source" folk game, carried out a successful propaganda campaign in an attempt to portray Charles Darrow as the inventor of "Monopoly", and aggressively driven competitors out of business with lawsuits.

Anspach’s game was initially called "Bust the Trust", but the title was changed to "Anti-Monopoly". In the original 1973 version, the board is "monopolized" at the beginning of the game, and players compete to return the state of the board to a free market system. The game has seen multiple printings and revisions since 1973. A 1984 version appeared as "Anti-Monopoly II". In the 2005 version, individual players choose at the beginning of the game to play either by monopolistic or competitive rules.

By the 1970s, the idea that "Monopoly" had been created solely by Charles Darrow had become popular folklore—it was printed in the game's instructions and even in the 1974 book "The Monopoly Book: Strategy and Tactics of the World's Most Popular Game" by Maxine Brady. That same decade, Anspach fought Parker Brothers and its then-parent company, General Mills, over the trademarks of the "Monopoly" board game. Through the research of Anspach and others, much of the early history of the game was "rediscovered". Anspach confronted Brady over the actual history of the game on Barry Farber's New York City radio talk show in 1975.cite book | author=Anspach, Ralph | title=The Billion Dollar Monopoly Swindle |edition=Second edition|publisher=Xlibris Corporation|year=2000|pages=Pages 302-303|id=ISBN 0-7388-3139-5]

Because of the lengthy court process, including appeals, the legal status of Parker Brothers' trademarks on the game was not settled until 1985. The game's name remains a registered trademark of Parker Brothers, as do its specific design elements. At the conclusion of the court case, the game's logo and graphic design elements became part of a larger "Monopoly" brand, licensed by Parker Brothers' parent companies onto a variety of items through the present day. Despite the "rediscovery" of the board game's early history in the 1970s and 80s and several books and journal articles on the subject, Hasbro (Parker Brothers' current parent company) does not acknowledge any of the game's pre-Charles Darrow history on their official "Monopoly" website. [Hasbro.com [http://www.hasbro.com/games/kid-games/monopoly/default.cfm?page=History/history] page with their version of the "legend" of Monopoly.]

Anspach wrote a book about his battles with Parker Brothers and the results of his historical investigations, titled "The Billion Dollar Monopoly Swindle".


See also

History of the board game Monopoly

External links

* [http://tt.tf/gamehist/articles/Anspach-Collection-Description.pdf Notes Compiled by Ralph Anspach]
* [http://www.antimonopoly.com/ Anti-Monopoly Website]
* [http://www.discovergames.com/antimonopoly.html Background to Anti-Monopoly]
* [http://www.wafreepress.org/36/court.html Go to Court, Go Directly to Court - article from the Washington Free Press]
* [http://www.jewishsf.com/content/2-0-/module/displaystory/story_id/8843/edition_id/168/format/html/displaystory.html Leslie Katz, "U.S. veterans of '48 war recall their Zionist passion", "Jewish News Weekly of Northern California", June 5, 1998]

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